Times, They Are A-Changin’
The art that was once communication is dying out. Conversation is no longer the ‘in’ thing. I must admit, I txt spk – not because I think it’s cool but because I’m lazy when messaging. However, in conversation I don’t abbreviate to the degree that an entire topic can be discussed in five short simple responses with the odd grunt here and there.
I talk for a living. I have to talk to others – I have, and always will, hate speaking on the phone (whether for work or not). I embrace the fact I must speak to people I do not know and may never speak to again but inside, I still hate it. As a kid, I was outgoing and very chatty but during my teen years I regressed and preferred my own company to that of others. As a result, my social interactions became stunted. As an adult, I have had to adapt to situations I would have, if given a choice, avoided.
What I have recently started to feel and as days go by I become more certain of: communication is dying. People don’t talk anymore. People who are merely a few years younger than me seem to have lost the ability to converse. Go even younger and the skill seems to just drop off a cliff like the poor, misguided green mop-topped Lemmings (a reference most ‘youngsters’ will not get).
To sum up communication now, if it’s outside of Facebook, Twitter or some form of digital communication you’re lucky if you get even a one word answer. When I was pre and mid teen I was able to have a conversation with pretty much any age group – I’d spend hours talking to my gran or my mum as well as my brother, sister and friends. I find it difficult to speak to people younger than me because their heads are so buried in the sand I couldn’t even pull a reference of something from ‘their time’ that they would get.
I probably sound like a grumpy old pensioner but if you stop and look around, I’m sure you’ll notice the same. Technology, the highlight of my life in so many ways, is also the same curse we are all becoming or have already been afflicted with. It has driven laziness and killed the ability to think for yourself.
The internet is a prime example of just a snapshot of offline life and how communication has devolved. Look at a blog post or some form of online publication with the ability to comment on the post. Instead of constructive thought, feedback, criticism or some sort of emotional response you will predominantly find most have that unavoidable and sad reflection of the times saying: “First!!!!”
Trolling has always been rife on the interwebs, as well as in real life but now it’s a free-for-all whereby shit kicks off over nothing just because no one has anything better to do.
Tie this in with my previous post where I know that my kids will never get to live the fruitful childhood I feel I got to live out no matter how much I try. Kids these days have no appreciation for anything significant because everything these days is so readily available and if it can’t be achieved through some hard work it can be done via defrauding the system or some other form of illegitimate acquisition.
Ironically, technology played a huge part of my childhood. I had shed loads of toys – soldiers, Batman figures, LEGO an so on – my imagination ran rampant and Itaking ‘d spend hours just sat playing on the floor and in some cases taking up the upstairs and downstairs of my gran’s house. Usually leaving her to tidy most of them up…like I said, I’m lazy. The other half of my time and as I grew up that time extended exponentially on my Amstrad, Amiga, Spectrum ZX, SEGA Master System, SNES, Mega Drive II and Playstation 1.
I have experienced a lot of historical milestones in my short-ish life. I have seen technological breakthroughs that, when looking back, don’t seem as significant but just think of that moment, if you experienced it, when you move from a Mega Drive to a Playstation or from one old-gen platform to next-gen and how awesome that transition feels.
Life was more simple and enjoyable. There was less moderation in life – not so many conditions we had to abide by and I turned out fine (in my mind anyway) and most of my generation did. Kids had stuff to do then – we climbed trees, made dens, had sword fights made from wood we’d nailed together and made shields to go with them, we’d go on ‘adventures’ (nothing to the magnitude of The Goonies). Now, they hang out on street corners, vandalising property, accosting people…you get the idea.
I’m not saying none of that happened but it was never as big an issue or common occurrence. That was a time when parents actually bothered with their kids as opposed to just shoving the TV on and leaving them to it. I watched loads of TV and movies but only because I wanted to – it wasn’t used as a tool to give my mum peace and quiet.
I look at my little girls – one is 4 in November and the other is 8 weeks today – I fear for what they will be having to endure through what I class as their toughest years (school) and hope that I will be there to let them experience a mere fraction of what I did as a child as I’m sure they will be all the better for it.
If only every parent would step up to the plate – too bad most people just use kids as a means of income so they don’t have to work and sponge from the system.